Evaluating Root Cause Analysis Options: Change Analysis
Features : I have not seen change analysis called out as a tool for finding root causes by itself. The KT ‘is/ is not’ problem solving tool is the closest thing to change analysis that I have seen. As I stated above, this KT tool is in essence the same as the TapRooT® Change Analysis tool.
Advantages : It is always useful to compare what should have happened to what did happen when analyzing a problem, but this effort alone will not lead you the root causes of, and corrective actions for, preventing the problem in the future.
Disadvantages : The Change Analysis tool appears to be limited to comparing what should have happened to what did happen, and in turn does not lead you to the actual root causes of, and corrective actions for, preventing that problem in the future.
Evaluating Root Cause Analysis Options: Fishbone or Ishikawa Diagram
Features : This tool is perhaps the oldest, and most well known, tool for conducting a root cause analysis. In its most common form of use, the user attempts to define multiple possible causes for a given problem in the four areas of manpower, methods, materials, and machines. The five why technique is often used with this tool to construct the bones of the chart, with the answer to each why resulting in a new branch being created off of the previous one that the question originated from.
Advantages : This tool is better than nothing, and serves as a useful tool for getting individual opinions onto a sheet of paper so that everyone involved can talk about them and suggest additional possible causes. In a lot ways, it is similar to identifying the conditions for a snapchart, but that is where the comparison ends.
Disadvantages : This is an opinion-based tool, and its design limits the user’s ability to visually define multiple levels of ‘why’ answers unless the paper that is being used is really large. Worse yet, opinion (voting of some form) is normally used to select the most likely causes from those listed on the diagram. Teams are then encouraged to test different countermeasures for the selected causes to see if the problem goes away, which can be both time consuming and costly. The tool also does not focus on finding and eliminating generic causes.
TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis Advantages
Here are eight primary reasons why I feel the TapRooT® root cause analysis process is superior to any of the above listed tools:
• It is a closed loop process in that it uses the snapchart for problem definition (define), the root cause tree and trending for root cause identification (measure and analyze), and the corrective action process to define well-rounded problem solutions (improve).
• The snapchart is time-based, in that it shows the sequence of events leading up to and following a given problem. This tool helps the user identify a more complete set of events and conditions that led to a given problem’s occurrence.
• The process is based on a set of well-developed operational definitions and questions, which are based on years of research and application, and which discourage the user from relying primarily on their opinions when selecting a root cause or causes.
• The process encourages the identification of generic causes, which if corrected, will prevent similar problems from appearing in other parts of the organization or in other products or services in the product / service line.
• The process software contains hundreds of possible corrective actions that have been used by hundreds of companies to correct and prevent the problems that result from both singular and generic causes.
• The process is grounded in human factors theory, which supports the fact that people are the key to organizational success and most often the source of most problems due to the design of the systems and processes they use and the decisions they make as they do their jobs each day.
• The software’s design and content encourages and enables the individual problem solver, or a team of problem solvers, to keep their efforts focused and organized due to the existence of the dictionary, corrective action helper, a highly visual problem definition (snapchart) and root cause analysis process, and the linkages between the snapchart causal factors, the root causes selected, the identified corrective actions, and the assortment of incidents analyzed.
The results that you get from using this tool versus the time invested to use it will almost always far outweigh the results you will get from the time invested using any of the above tools – the time required per tool application is not much, if any, greater, and the quality of results is far superior. In most cases, a couple of hours of use with most of the above tools would only give you a list of possible causes – in the same amount of time, the TapRooT® process will give you a clearly defined problem, a focused set of root causes, and a sound mix of corrective actions.
Would You Like to Learn More?
I have taught over 400 courses and helped more than 500 organizations as a certified international trainer and consultant for the TapRooT® root cause analysis process. I believe that this approach to root cause analysis far exceeds the more opinion-based approaches that have been used for years, such as fishbone diagrams, 5 Whys, and fault tree analysis. Additionally, the TapRooT® root cause tree represents a collection of 103 best practices for reducing human error and performance challenges. In turn, it can be used to error proof your work systems. If you want to reduce significant amounts of waste, improve customer satisfaction levels, and grow your business, you need work systems that promote effective, daily human performance and minimize the potential for equipment breakdowns.
If you are evaluating root cause analysis options, consider learning more about the TapRooT® root cause analysis process. I would be happy to provide you with a quote for an onsite 2 day or 5 day TapRooT® root cause analysis workshop. If you would like a quote, simply click on this link to request a quote via e-mail.
To learn more about the TapRooT® root cause analysis process, visit the TapRooT® website.
Also, TapRooT® workshops are offered around the world on a monthly basis. These two and five day workshops focus on teaching and sharing root cause analysis and investigation best practices. Many of our customers from companies both large and small have saved lots of money by using the TapRooT® process to reduce human performance and equipment problems – you can too!